Labor Dept. lawyer investigates intimidation claims

5:23 AM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A U.S. Labor Department lawyer is in Maine to interview state unemployment hearing officers about allegations that Gov. Paul LePage pressured them to decide more cases in favor of business.

A spokeswoman for the Maine Labor Department says the lawyer plans to conduct interviews this week with about a dozen people who attended a March 21 gathering at the governor's residence.

Some at the meeting say the Republican governor pressured hearings officers - who adjudicate unemployment benefit appeals - to be more pro-business. One described it as a "group scolding."

LePage denied trying to influence anyone, saying the "cordial" meeting was to ensure that officers followed "the letter of the law."

The Maine Employment Lawyers Association asked federal officials to look into the case, a request LePage called "politically motivated."



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